‘Student’ in Rs 1-cr UCO Bank fraud case

Guwahati, Nov. 12 : The UCO Bank has incurred a loss of more than Rs 1 crore by extending loan to a private company of Arunachal Pradesh, which is “owned by a school student” on paper.

A CBI investigation into the bank fraud has revealed that the owner of the private firm — M/s S.K. Enterprise — to which the bank had extended a loan of Rs 1.35 crore, is a school student.

An official source today said after preliminary probe, the CBI found that the name of the proprietor of S.K. Enterprise on paper was that of a school student.

“The masterminds of the fraud had registered the firm in the name of a school student (whose name has not been disclosed as he is believed to be innocent) through forgery. They then availed the loan on October 9, 2007, allegedly in collusion with the then chief manager of the UCO Bank branch in Papum Pare district in Arunachal Pradesh, P.K. Ghoshal,” the source said.

He said the CBI registered a case — number 12 (A)/2011 — through its anti-corruption branch in Guwahati in August this year against Ghoshal and some others after the fraud was detected. The CBI is expected to get further details soon.

The source said investigations so far point the needle of suspicion towards involvement of Ghoshal in the fraud.

“Though no one has been arrested yet, we have received some important clues and a few arrests could be made in the next few days,” the source said.

According to him, the allegation was that Ghoshal, when he was the chief manager of the UCO Bank branch in Papum Pare, had sanctioned cash credit facility to the tune of Rs 1.35 crore against primary security of stocks, which included construction materials, TMT bars and so on.

“The advance was also secured by collateral security of one fixed deposit of Rs 34 lakh,” the source said.

When the firm defaulted in repayment, the bank decided to carry out physical inspection of the office and godown of the firm.

“During inspection by bank officials, the godown and the office of the firm were found to be closed and only signboards were mounted on the closed premises. Later inquiries revealed that the premises were empty and had been locked for a long time,” he added.

The CBI sleuths also found that the money in the fixed deposit was also diverted.

“The motive was clear. The fixed deposit money was diverted and the security materials had been disposed of without the bank’s consent in order to defraud and cheat the bank,” the source said.

The CBI also learnt that the prime accused in the case had fraudulently registered the firm in the name of a school student and then taken the power of attorney of the firm in his own name.

The source, however, refused to disclose the name of the prime accused, who originally hails from Rajasthan, in the interest of the investigation.

“By taking the power of attorney, he cheated the bank. However, we strongly suspect and also have certain clues which suggest that the fraud could not have been possible without the help of bank insiders, particularly the chief manager,” the source said.